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Supporting journalism at home and abroad

Today I happened to be exercising at the gym where the television was on C-SPAN, which was showing Texas Senator John Cornyn speaking on the Senate floor. He was in the middle of his presentation and he was speaking about freedom of the press and how strongly he feels about the necessity of this in a free society.

I heard him say something about the level of abuse against journalists and what caught my ear was his statement that the abuse of journalists in 2018 was even worse than in 2017.

I was so excited to see that someone from the Republican party was speaking up for the value of free press in our country. As I continued to listen, however, I learned that he was not talking about these abuses in the USA, but about Austin Tice, a journalist who has been imprisoned in Syria for six long years. I wholeheartedly agree with him that Tice needs to be released and whatever the U.S. can do to help him and other journalists in the world to be freed is essential.

Although I am not living in Texas and therefore cannot vote for Senator Cornyn I sent him a letter anyway. I told him that he and his fellow Republican's decisions affect me and millions of others every day. We have a president who calls the press in this country, “the enemy of the people”, a phrase used in the past by Stalin and other dictators. We have a president whom Senator Cornyn, (not to mention our North Carolina Senators Burr and Tillis and our local Congressperson McHenry), support and do not contradict, who incites hatred of the press almost daily and whose rhetoric is inciting the very abuse of journalists that he speaks up against in Syria.

I wrote to ask him to step forward and speak, not only for the American journalists who are imprisoned and persecuted in foreign countries, but also for all those hardworking legitimate journalists in our country whom our president criticizes, and attempts to diminish daily. The congress is supposed to be a check and balance on the executive branch. I asked him to take a stand against the President's abuse of the press and to encourage his fellow Republicans to do the same. We need to call out hypocrisy in
our politicians when we hear it, regardless of their party.

Erica Burns

Black Mountain 

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